HIV: ‘still more prevention needed’

9 February 2012

While South Africa is doing well in preventing mother-to-child transmission, President Jacob Zuma has called for greater effort in the general prevention of HIV/Aids.

“While we are doing well with regards to treatment and the prevention of mother-to-child transmission, general prevention efforts must also be accelerated,” Zuma said during his State of the Nation address to Parliament in Cape Town on Thursday.

“We also wish to encourage South Africans to live healthier lives to reduce the impact of non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and hypertension,” he said.

Zuma congratulated the health sector as well as the South African National Aids Council led by Deputy President Kgalema Motlanthe on the success of the HIV/Aids programme.

On World Aids Day on 1 December, Zuma launched the new National Strategic Plan (NSP) for HIV/Aids 2012-2016, which promises to do much more to tackle TB and issues of violence against women.

The NSP proposes to deal with HIV, sexually transmitted infections and tuberculosis by adopting a holistic approach which includes preventative and therapeutic measures.

It brings together five succinct goals and four aims, whose combined purpose is to quash new HIV infections.

The five goals are:

  • To reduce new HIV infections by at least 50% by using a combination of prevention approaches;
  • To initiate at least 80% of eligible patients on antiretroviral treatment with 70% being alive and on treatment five years after initiation;
  • To reduce the number of new TB infections as well as deaths from TB by 50%;
  • To ensure an enabling and accessible legal framework that protects and promotes human rights in order to support the implementation of the NSP; and
  • To reduce self-reported stigma related to HIV and TB by at least 50%.

The country also adopted the “three zeros” agreed to at the United Nations high level meeting in New York this June as a vision for the next 20 years. In addition, a fourth zero has been added, which aims to eliminate HIV transmission from mother- to-child.

The four zeros are “zero new HIV and TB infection; zero new infections due to mother to child transmission; zero preventable deaths associated with HIV and TB, and zero discrimination associated with HIV and TB”.

Source: BuaNews